Director spends the day cycling in Berlin, where the roads are wide, the gradients gentle and all but the slenderest pavements have a strip dedicated to two-wheeled, un-motorised traffic
Given the health benefits too – cycling’s credentials as a stress-busting, low-impact, joint-friendly aerobic activity are well documented – it’s small wonder increasing numbers of business leaders are heading to the German capital for cycling holidays. Pedal power now comprises 15 per cent of all traffic in Berlin.
Using the Swissôtel – Director’s highly agreeable base for a business trip – as a starting point, we climbed aboard an ultra-stylish steed made by Zurich-based start-up EGO Movement E-Bikes, and set off south along Joachimsthaler Strasse, making a beeline for a flea market on Fehrbelliner Platz. Here, around 130 stalls hawk an eclectic mix of bizarre sculptures, vintage porcelain goods, records, books and, bizarrely, soap boxes and other packaging from the post-war years.
Preussenpark, the green space next door, proved the perfect spot for a spontaneous lunch stop. It plays host to an informal outdoor-market where Thai families sit on blankets tending camping stoves – from afar they look like they’re picnicking – and sell fried and fresh delicacies from their homeland. This goes on every day, while the flea market is weekends only.
At this point, it is tempting to head east to check out the apartment in Schöneberg where David Bowie and Iggy Pop set up camp in 1976. But we’re after the therapeutic experience today, and the quiet congeniality of authentic, off-the-tourist-trail Berlin seems more conducive. So we head the other way towards Grunewald – a salubrious, leafy residential area close to the Havel river’s eastern banks, passing by Halensee, a lake that opens for public swimming all summer, along the way.
Returning to base camp, it was impossible not to surmise that this is a city that is really best explored from the saddle. With ever-increasing numbers of Berlin cycling tours now on offer, it cannot be recommended highly enough as a pulse-quickening but de-stressing way to spend a few hours’ down time.
Cycling in Berlin